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Mozart's Thematic Catalogue - ff. 7v-8r

Image of Mozart's Thematic Catalogue - ff. 7v-8r
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24 March to 26 June 1786

Mozart had hoped to obtain a position at the court of the Habsburg Emperor Joseph II, which would give him the financial security of an annual income. However, the strong Italian musical influence at court under the leading court musician Antonio Salieri made this difficult, and no vacancies were forthcoming. One way to gain court approval was to produce a successful opera. Mozart collaborated with Lorenzo da Ponte, a well-known poet and librettist, to produce a comic opera Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). First performed on 1 May 1786 at the Burgtheater in Vienna, the opera was well received, and nine further performances were given that year.

24 March 1786

K491. This piano concerto in C minor used the largest orchestra Mozart had yet called for in a concert hall. It was probably premiered by Mozart on 7 April 1786. It is as passionate as his other piano concerto in a minor key, the D minor concerto K466, but is a grander and less stormy work.

29 April 1786

K492. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), a comic opera in four acts, was first performed in Vienna on 1 May 1786.

3 June 1786

K493. This quartet in E flat is scored for what was at the time an unusual combination of instruments: piano, violin, viola and cello. It was published by the leading Viennese music publisher Artaria in 1787. The first English edition was published only a few months later in an anthology by Stephen Storace, who together with his sister Nancy had known Mozart well in Vienna in the mid-1780s, before they returned to England in 1787.

10 June 1786

K494. This rondo in F for piano was eventually used in a revised version as the finale of the piano sonata in F, K533, in January 1788.

26 June 1786

K495. This horn concerto in E flat was one of four horn concertos Mozart wrote for Joseph Leutgeb, a magnificent horn player who had formerly played in the court orchestra at Salzburg, and then worked in Vienna as a cheesemonger. From the mischievous comments written in the original manuscript we know that Mozart regarded Leutgeb as something of a buffoon, but he was also a longstanding friend.

Musical extracts recorded at the Royal College of Music, London

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